When Ed and Helen Lauer opened their first supermarket in 1974, they had a specific concept in mind: to offer first-rate customer service and signature baked goods. Daughters Bernie Snoops and Babbie Poyer now run the Lauer’s Supermarket & Bakery locations in Chesterfield Plaza and Riviera Plaza, but their vision of community service has not changed.
In the 1970s, Helen coined the slogan “Friendly, fast and fresh, serving you the best.” Snoops and Poyer adhere to that motto today, focusing on the guest experience. Lauer’s has been chosen as Best Bakery, Best Dessert or Best Customer Service every year since the “Best of Pasadena” survey was first distributed to readers of The Voice in 2009.
The bakery is a strong asset to the store. Guests will find doughnuts, cookies, sweet buns, coffee cakes, pies and other sweets, all made on the spot. Staff members can also manufacture cakes for any occasion. “Our bakery is scratch mix, which is very unique,” Snoops said. “Most supermarkets have a frozen bakery. For both of my parents, that was near to their hearts, and it has maintained its reputation.”
While many of the supermarket traditions have been maintained over the years, a stronger focus has been placed on the prepared foods department. “We have dinners-to-go and carryout catering type foods,” Snoops mentioned. “People can come in and buy pans of lasagna, baked ziti or order those items for catering if they are going to have a party, so that’s a little different now. We are emphasizing that more now to help people with their time constraints. You don’t have enough time to cook, so we’ll cook for you.”
When walking into Lauer’s, customers can see what sets it apart from traditional stores. A gift shop with flowers, balloons and gift cards greets families. But a large part of Lauer’s success is the services that are provided for people outside the building.
The store has several community initiatives, such as Lauer’s Learning Ladder, which allows customers to choose a school that will benefit from a portion of the shopper’s spending. Each year, Snoops and Poyer divide $40,000 between the schools that participate. Since 1992, the owners have raised $950,000 for local schools. Lauer’s is also a sponsor of the Pasadena Business Association’s Thanksgiving Parade. The store does a food drive in which bags of groceries are sold at a discounted rate to encourage customers to donate the canned items to local food pantries.
“Without the community, we can’t survive,” Snoops insisted. “We can’t do everything, but we try to do as much as possible to support the community.”
In return, customers have chosen Lauer’s as their preferred grocery store for more than four decades. The Lauer daughters hope to continue that trend, keeping the store in stock with fresh products. For St. Patrick’s Day, Lauer’s will have Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage. The semiannual three-day meat sale will be held in the spring. Beyond that, Snoops said the sisters will do whatever they can to serve the community.
“We try to stay true to our core and what our parents started, while making some advancements,” Snoops acknowledged. “You have to stay fresh.”
Lauer’s Supermarket & Bakery has two locations in Pasadena. Guests can visit the Chesterfield Plaza store, which is located at 8095-A Edwin Raynor Boulevard, or the Riviera Plaza store, located at 8489 Fort Smallwood Road. For more information, call the Chesterfield shop at 410-255-0070 or the Riviera Beach location at 410-437-4800, or go to www.lauerssupermarkets.com.